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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
October 30, 1987     The Message
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October 30, 1987

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4 Editorial The Message -- for CathoBcs of Southwestern indiana i i October 30, 1987 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor My favorite tree is a black walnut tree. Not any black walnut tree, but a single -- and singular -- individual tree, growing steadily near the house where my family and I used to live. The tree is not beautiful, I realized last week, when I looked at it where it stood, near the hedge that marks the edge of the property line. It leans a little, away from the shade of the hedge, toward greater sunlight. The tree will probably never be of any com- mercial value, with a deformity midway up its trunk, interrupting the otherwise straight-grained growth. The lower portion of the trunk is heavier than you would expect, for a tree just 15 feet tall. It was much, much smaller, though, when I first got ac- quainted with it. There were no trees at the house where we us- ed to live, when we first moved there, but a large walnut tree reached from the neighbor's yard, high above both houses and wide across both lawns. In our small garden, the walnuts of fall produced sprouts in the spring. I pulled several of the sprouting trees from the garden, and planted them in containers. Only one of them survived. When I first took it from the earth where it had sprouted, I was surprised at the strength it must have had to break out of the shell which had protected it. I should not have been surprised. The small tree soon outgrew the small con- Hope for the church and all of its branches tainer, so I found a new place for it, the same place it grows today. Growth has not been easy. During the first full season at the new site, a rleighbor's child spray painted my walnut tree blue, stem and leaves and all. Our garage had a blue streak, too, and the once white wheels of our sons' coaster wagon had irregular blue patches. The paint had not been particularly directed, but the indiscriminate attack seemed most threatening to my walnut tree. The leaves fell off in summer, and I believed the tree was doomed. In the next spring, however, the branches sprouted new leaves and the tree grew. I should not have been surprised at its strength. A year of uninterrupted growth brought the tree almost to the height of the hedge which shaded it. I hoped for steady growth as the branches reached open air and sunlight. I will never know for certain, but I believe it was the same neighbor's child who returned the next year. He, or some one, literally tore off the top of the young tree. All that remained two thin branches at the side of a splintered trunk, topped with twisted fibers, dry and lifeless. There seemed to be not other choice, with nothing to lose. I painted shut the splintered wound, cut off the weaker branch, and tied the re- maining branch so that it pointed upward. It look- ed odd, that scrawny branch which had grown out the way branches are shaped, now held up straight the way the thicker trunk should have been. Like a dead stick poked into the ground with a flattened green umbrella tied to the top. The leaves stayed green that summer. I should not have been surprised. Nor should I have doubted the transformation that came, as the flat- tened branch changed into a trunk and sprouted new branches on all sides. My tree was a real tree again, with all of its necessary parts, even a perfectly functional and acceptable crown. Gospel references to "the vine and the bran- ches" had not prepared me for this walnut tree symbol of the church. The first time I heard about the vine, I believe I understood that branches could not live without it. My walnut tree taught me a harder lesson to believe, that a branch can ac- tually become the trunk. Disciples who grew up at the side of Jesus, marvelously, were called upon to become Jesus for others. Their center had been violently, painfully, ripped away, yet life remained in the branches. My walnut tree tells me there is hope, in these days of wondering what has happened to the great number of ordained clergy, and and in these times of fear about what will happen to the church. There is no doubt about the pain that is involved. There is no doubt that the church may seem to look a little odd at times. Nor can there be doubt about the life of the church in all of its branches. There will be a transformation. No one with faith should be surprised. Washington Letter Adoption deductions and tax" "pro-abortion bias" By JULIEASHER It would amend the Internal tion, medical care is not obstacles toadoption. NC News Service Revenue Code of 1986 to pro- (deductible). The tax policy is Last May, Doerflinger, as part vide a deduction for expenses in favor of abortion." of a panel testifying before the WASHINGTON (NC) -- of up to $7,000 for adopting a Also, he noted, group health House Select Committee of Legislation recently introduced foreign child, and up to $5,000 plans cover normal childbirth Children, Youth and Family, into Congresswouldallowtax for a domestic adoption, and abortion but not the urged "renewed considera- deductions for adoption ex- Eligible expenses would in- medical bills for the adoptive tion" of ways to facilitate adop- penses up to $7,000 and, its clude.maternity services, court child, he noted, tion for unmarried pregnant supporters said, would costs, attorney fees and adop- But, he added, the same bill teen-agers and of a federal tax eliminate what they see as a tion agency fees. Families earn- has been introduced for a deduction for adoption ex- pro-abortion bias in current tax ing under $60,000 could deduct number of years and is "regard- penses. laws. 100 percent of the costs, ed by some as a drain on the "It is our view that much of Abortion canbedeductedas Deductions could not be treasury." the demand for exotic a medical expense but doctor taken on the adoption by an in- reproductive technologies bills that are part of adoption dividual of his or her spouse's AS INTRODUCED, the (such as surrogate motherhood) expenses cannot be. child. Fairness to Adopting Families is due to the fact that many in- Known as the "Fairness to Act would also encourage more fertile couples see adoption as Adopting Families Act," the Douglas Johnson, legislative companies to offer adoption difficult or impossible," he legislation was introduced director for the National Right assistance benefits by treating said. Sept. 30 by Rep. William to Life Committee, said his such benefits as necessary Lehman, D-Fla., and Sen. Orrin organization has supported business expenses. Those "Adoption doesnot divideor Hatch, R-Utah. Co-sponsors such legislation for years benefits could not be counted as redefine families, but copes were Reps. Frank Wolf, D-Vs., because it wouldbe "good pro- taxable income for those with the reality of non-existent and Patricia Schroeder, D- life policy for the government" assisted, or non-functioning families in Colo., and Sen. Paul Simon, D- and eliminate a "pro-abortion Richard Doerflinger, assistant such a way as to benefit ]1. bias" in tax laws. director of the pro-life activities everyone -- the child, the birth ' ' C u r r e nt 1 aw is office of the National Con- parents, and the adoptivecou- schizophrenic," he said: "The ference of Catholic Bishops, has ple." cost of an abortion is deductible said the federal government can Doerflinger said the only as medical expenses; for adop- and should do more to remove federal program facilitating 000008800t00 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville. Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R. Shea Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph Zillak Editor .................. Paul Lelngang Circulation Mgr .... Mrs. Rose Montrastelte Production Mgr ............... Phll Boger Advertising Mgr ............... Dan Horty Address all communication.q to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47711. Phone (812) 4245536. Subecrlptlon rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. Synod delegates vote on proposal list VATICAN CITY (NC) -- The 1987 Synod of Bishops began approving a list of proposals for Pope John Paul II on the role of the laity in the church and the world with little chance the: proposals would be published. Voting on the list of secret proposals began Oct. 27, with "no talk of making it public," said English-language synod. press officer, Msgr. Diarmuid Martin. The synod delegates plan to present the proposals "to the pope with the idea that he write a document for the universal church," said Msgr. Martin. Synod delegates are follow- ing standard norms which re- quire that the proposals be sub- mitted exclusively to the pope, he added at an Oct. 27 press briefing. The synod is scheduled to end Oct. 30. The synod is an advisory body to the pope. It needs papal permission to publish a substantive document on the issues it discusses. Only twice in the previous eight synods, in 1971 and 1985, have popes allowed synods to publish a substantive docu- ment. In four of the last five synods, popes have used the proposals as the basis for a papal docu- ment on the synod theme. The 1987 synod also plans to follow the standard practice of issuing a non-suastantive "Message to the People of God," said Msgr. Martin. adoption for unmarried preg- nant teen-agars, the Adolescent Family Life program, has never received adequate funding and "now risks being phased out all together." He noted that the only ex- isting tax deduction for adop- tion expenses -- a 5-year-old provision applying only to adoption of children with han- dicaps and other special needs -- was eliminated by the 1986 Tax Reform Law. The proposed legislation has been a high priority for the Na- tional Committee for Adoption, said Jeff Rosenberg, director for adoption services. "We think it's a good idea. It addresses one major barrier to adoption, that is, cost," Rosenberg said. "There is no question it is difficult to adopt a healthy infant today. It can take two years and there are pro- bably 40 couples for every child adopted each yeaK" But such a bill could en- courage more unmarried preg- nant teen-agers to choose adop- tion rather than abortion, he said, because it would facilitate better, private medical care; that is, agencies could ask adoptive parents to help with more medical fees because those could be deducted. He added that many agencies must refer expectant mothers with no resources to the small percentage of obstetricians who accept Medicaid. However, some young women resist that kind of care. Many feel, Rosenberg said, that "if they Wanted to be on welfare, they could raise the child themselves."